20 MARCH 1942, Page 2

The India of the Princes

It is no bad thing that while we await news of Sir Stafford Cripps' arrival in India we ,should be reminded, by the meeting of the Chamber of Princes and the resolutions there adopted, of those States, occupying a third of the territory of India, which are still governed by their own• rulers and largely unaffected by the political divisions which are creating so intractable a problem in British India. We are under various treaty obligations to those States individually, particularly m regard to respect for their autonomy, and the obligations must, and of course will, be honoured. For the scheme of federation on which the Central Government as contemplated by the Act of 1935 rested to be carried through, as it may be hoped it still will be, the co-operation of the Princes, whose territories would be federated with the self-governing provinces of British India, is essential, and it is satisfactory to note the assurance of the Jam Sahab of Nawanagar that the Princes (whose hesitations have so far prevented the achievement of federation) in no way oppose the attainment by India of Dominion status in full equality with Britain and the other Dominions under a constitu- tion to be formed by Indians themselves. A resolution passed unanimously by the Chamber authorised representatives of the Princes to carry on negotiations with Sir Stafford Cripps. Intensely loyal as they are to the British Commonwealth, their full concurrence is an essential condition of any satisfactory Indiadsettlement, for any settlement, to be enduring, must cover the country as a whole, not merely British India.